At the beginning of this month Mircosoft introduced its new platform Viva, designed to improve the remote working experience for both employers and employees.
The pandemic may have accelerated the adoption of work from home, but it seems the trend is here to stay. According to a survey by Gartner, 80% of Company Leaders say they will allow employees to work from home for at least part of the time and 47% said they will move to a full time remote working model . With the launch of Viva Microsoft aims to be a big part of the new normal when it come to how we work.
But what exactly is Microsoft Viva?
Viva is not an app or a service. The company describes it as a platform that can be experienced through Microsoft Teams. Viva will integrate with teams and act similar to an intranet. This means employees will have access to important business and company information in a central location. Viva has been launched with four modules:
This module addresses the lack of connection with their teams that many people face when working from home. During the past year many employees have been hired remotely and may never have stepped into a company’s office. Viva connections is built on existing Microsoft 365 apps like SharePoint and integrates with Yammer. It will allow employers to create a digital workspace where employees can access their personalized feed and dashboard. Employers can customize the content on these dashboards for specific roles as well as conduct town halls and share company news and policies.
Insights is meant to help individuals, managers and company leadership manage employee’s time effectively and ensure resources are not in danger of burning out. One common complaint from remote workers has been that they are working longer hours with fewer breaks. The module will provide data-driven, privacy protected insights to employees, managers and leadership. Employees can use the module to stay connected with peers and block time for breaks, learning, etc. Managers will get privacy-protected data that will allow them to see if their teams are at risk of burning out. Leadership can use the insights to address more complex issues like redesigning the organizations structure or workspace to better suit the remote working model. The module will be accessible through Microsoft Teams and will expand on the capabilities of Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics.
Learning will aggregate content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, an organization’s custom content, as well as trainings platforms like Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight, and edX. The module will create a central hub in Teams. This hub can be used by employees to discover and share training courses as well as learning content. Managers will be able to use the module to assign courses and learning material to employees and track their progress. Microsoft’s goal is to make it easier for organizations to foster a learning culture within remote employees.
The fourth module aims to make it easier for employees to find information and knowledge they need. While working remotely it can be difficult for employees to understand company acronyms or find an expert for a particular topic. The company describes Topics as, “Wikipedia with AI superpowers”. When an employee encounters an unfamiliar topic or acronym, they can simply hover on the term and a topic card will appear with information. Employees can click on the topic card to visit topic pages with more detailed information on the subject as well as discover who are the company experts on that topic. Experts can also share their knowledge with the organization by creating customizable topic pages. Topic cards will appear when employees are using apps like Office, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams.
Why should you care about Microsoft Viva?
As organizations adopt fully remote or hybrid models post the pandemic, they will be looking for tools to support the new way of working. In the United States alone over 650,000 companies use Microsoft Teams. If your organization uses Microsoft teams or any of the other Office 365 apps, it is possible that Viva will become a part of your work life. You can even choose to put the platform on your company’s radar.
From the information shared by the company so far, we can deduce that Viva has been designed based on the trends that Microsoft has observed with regards to remote working. Apart from further developing the announced four modules, Microsoft plans on adding even more modules to the Viva platform. Whether or not organizations take to the platform is a question that only time can definitively answer.
Read the full announcement blog by Microsoft for more information on Viva: microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2021/02/04/microsoft-viva-empowering-every-employee-for-the-new-digital-age/
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- June 2020, Gartner.inc [online] Available from: gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-07-14-gartner-survey-reveals-82-percent-of-company-leaders-plan-to-allow-employees-to-work-remotely-some-of-the-time [Accessed Feb 2021]